Monday, March 22, 2004 | 8:43 a.m.
Four Republican governors in Las Vegas on Friday speculated that this election season could be a good one for their party.
"We're very optimistic about this year's election cycle," said Colorado's Gov. Bill Owens.
Owens and the other GOP governors were in town for a regional meeting of the Republican Governors Association, which raises money, gives advice and helps recruit voters for Republican gubernatorial candidates.
Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn is the vice chairman of the group. Also in attendance was Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven and South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds.
Owens said he thinks Republicans have a chance of winning six or eight of the 11 gubernatorial seats up for election this year.
Right now, 28 states have Republican governors.
"We're hopeful that we'll be able to increase or maintain our majority," Guinn said.
Despite the recent momentum that presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry has enjoyed, Owens said that President Bush has an advantage -- governors typically beat out senators in presidential elections.
The last person to go straight from the Senate to the White House was John F. Kennedy.
"We have a former governor as our president and as our party leader," Owens said.
The governors also spent Friday talking with representatives from the private sector about construction defect laws and tort reform, Guinn said.
They specifically focused on medical malpractice lawsuits and how they affect insurance rates, he said.